Monday, April 17, 2017

Beyond the Valley of Belief: Real or Unreal Vol. 1 (Review)

Director - Brian Papandrea (The Big F)
Starring - Brian Papandrea, Brian Kilby (The Big F), and Nathan Rumler (Nutsack Pt. 1: Lucifer's Cosmonauts)
Release Date - 2017
Genre - Horror/Comedy
Tagline - "Oh, believe it"
Format - Screening (Cinema Wasteland)

Rating (out of 5):
      Rock Bottom Video is one of the hand full of indie production companies that I truly get excited for.  Sometime ago I reviewed their vampire-esque horror comedy Fangboner directed by Rock Bottom's Nathan "does this can make my ass look big?" Rumler.  It was pretty fucking funny and gave the world an unusual view on vampires.  Their follow up, Big F, was directed by Brian Papa-papa-papa-papandrea and was easily one of the funniest bigfoot films since Harry and the Hendersons.  The film was very well written and had some memorable characters that you will not soon forget.  Not long ago Brian and Nathan announced a new film that they were shooting between films titled Beyond the Valley of Belief which was a parody of the 90s show Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction.  I could not wait to check it out and knew I would be seeing them at Cinema Wasteland.  I waited to grab a copy then but learned that the film would be showing there as well.  I was able to check it out (while drunk) with Brian and Nathan in attendance before returning home and watching it a few more times.
     The film follows Beyond the Valley of Belief host Jonathan Fritz who takes us through several segments and the viewer has to determine if they are real or fake.  The first follows a man who plans on scaring trick or treaters by dressing up as a scarecrow but is mistaken for a real scarecrow.  The second follows a young man wanting something new for his home and purchases a haunted toy.  What he doesn't know is who is haunting the small figure.  The next segment follows a group of paranormal investigators who hunt farting ghosts but one of them falls prey to their oral fixation.  The next segment follows two girls who are home alone when they hear news that an escaped mental patient is in the area.  When he arrives we learn who the deadly menace really is.  The final segment follows a young boy who is given chocolate by a witch.  He takes it home and eats it before becoming a living chocolate boy.  We then meet back up with Jonathan Fritz who is now being taken off seat due to his alcohol and drug dependency and the witch from the last segment fills us in on whether the segments were real or fake.
     I knew I was going to enjoy this film.  Fangboner and Big F were very funny but I had no idea I would fall in love with the movie the way I did.  Before the film played, both Nathan and Brian spoke about the film where they both exclaimed that the film was not that good.  They were wrong.  The acting in this one is fucking hilarious.  In my review for the Big F I stated that I was not sold on Sadie Tate.  I didn't mean to offend anyone but I just wasn't digging her in the role.  She completely flipped the script on me and showed some real acting chops in her comical role.  She proved me wrong.  Nathan Rumler and Brian Kilby, both members of Rock Bottom, were great in their roles.  Both had some serious roles, as well as, some completely fucking ridiculous roles.  Both did great and brought many laughs to the crowd.  With that being said, the real star of this film is Brian Papandrea.  He wears many different hats and takes on many different resulting in some of the funniest skits in indie horror history.  He killed everyone role he was in.  The stories for these segments are not all on the same level. Some were a lot more enjoyable than the others.  The scarecrow and haunted toy segments were the weakest in the film.  The scarecrow did have some laughs towards the end but the haunted toy section did nothing for me.  They did a great job making it look like a film from the silent era of cinema but it was out of place and lacked the humor of the other installments.  The high point of the film is a tie between the ghost segment and the witch segment, both of which star Papandrea.  Both had me cackling like an old woman and never lose their appeal regardless of how many times you watch them.  The humor is perfectly timed and hits hard throughout the film including the faux commercials.  Finally, the film is not a bloody or gory one.  We get a little blood but not enough to really pay attention to.  The practical effects are bare with no real effort placed into them which only adds to the humor.  Overall, Beyond the Valley of Belief is a swift kick to the nuts.  It's funny as hell and has that nostalgia factor that I am often looking for.  If you grew up in the 90s then you will want to watch this no budget comedy and laugh your ass off.  

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